Key findings in WHO report on psoriasis

Background

In 2014, the global community committed to raise awareness of psoriasis by adopting the first WHO Resolution on psoriasis. In this historical Resolution, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises psoriasis as a chronic inflammatory skin disease, which deserves global attention. The report points out that many people with psoriasis suffer unnecessarily due to incorrect or delayed diagnosis, inadequate treatment options, and insufficient access to care.

The WHO report

As a commitment from the WHO Resolution, the World Health Organisation published a unique report in 2016, on the global burden of psoriasis. Psoriasis can have a significant impact on quality of life, yet this is often underestimated. 

The WHO report marks a significant step forward in the global recognition of the impact of psoriasis on the life of the 125 million people living with the condition across the world and a unique opportunity to improve the lives of people suffering from this serious non-communicable condition. 

Key findings from the report

Psoriasis impacts quality of life: The report shows that the burden of disease is often under estimated for psoriasis. The WHO underlines the substantial negative impact on quality of life for people living with psoriasis, even when a relative limited body surface area (BSA) is affected. In fact, people living with psoriasis can experience psychological distress and discrimination because of their condition. The condition can impact relationships at home, at school or at work. It can also cause exclusion from social environments such as swimming pools, schools and workplaces. This stigmatization can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, and a sense of frustration and of being unattractive1.

Barriers to proper care: Another key finding in the report is on the extensive barriers to quality health care. The WHO report addresses the difficulty in accessing treatment and how low adherence and lack of awareness among the general public and health care providers lead to sub-optimal care. Poor adherence is highest with topical therapy. Low adherence is partly due to insufficient communication regarding instructions on how to use the prescribed medicine, misperception of possible adverse events and mistaken expectations about the speed and degree of improvement. Recommendations in the report mention early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, as well as education on common chronic skin conditions to health care professionals. 

References

WHO Global Report on Psoriasis http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/204417/1/9789241565189_eng.pdf?ua=1